LEAD: LDP’s Abe vows to settle abduction issue with N. Korea

LEAD: LDP’s Abe vows to settle abduction issue with N. Korea

OBAMA, Japan, Feb. 7 Kyodo


A top official of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) pledged Saturday to make all-out efforts to settle the issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korea.

LDP Secretary General Shinzo Abe made the promise when he met with Yasushi and Fukie Chimura at the Obama municipal government office in Fukui Prefecture, according to LDP officials.

The Chimuras are among five Japanese nationals abducted to North Korea in 1978 who are now back in their homeland. Their children are still in Pyongyang.

”I will make efforts to have your children get back to their parent’s hands as early as possible,” Abe was quoted as telling the Chimuras.

Abe also told them that the Japanese government will raise the abduction issue at a second round of six-nation talks to be held in Beijing from Feb. 25 with the aim of resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis.

Speaking at a press conference after the meeting between Abe and the Chimuras, Fukie’s brother, Yuko Hamamoto, said he requested the government to get ”tough” in dealing with North Korea, including possible economic sanctions, in order to enable the abductees’ families to come to Japan from North Korea as soon as possible.

”The secretary general pledged to make all-out efforts, so I believe in the government and the ruling parties,” Hamamoto said.

Tamotsu Chimura, Yasushi’s father, said he is discouraged by Abe’s denial of a possible visit by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to North Korea to settle the abduction issue.

”The secretary general said that now we are not in the stage (for the visit) and that it will happen after the abduction issue is fully resolved,” he told reporters.

The reunion of the abductees with their families in North Korea ”seems to be taking a long time,” he said.

The upcoming six-nation talks follow the first round of talks involving the United States, China, Russia, Japan and the two Koreas, which ended in August in Beijing without much progress.

Tokyo is demanding that North Korea send to Japan the five abductees’ families in North Korea, but Pyongyang has refused to comply, accusing Tokyo of breaking its promise to send the five back to North Korea.

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